(The following is a satirical piece; it is not meant to trivialize sociopaths and the damage they inflict on others. Rather, through satire, the piece is meant to dramatize, in exaggerated fashion, some of the sociopath’s notable linguistic, defensive and manipulative machinations.)
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, and particularly you, young lady. I believe you are juror #7? If you don’t mind, you are looking strikingly beautiful today; then again, that implies that you weren’t looking just as distractingly gorgeous as yesterday, which you were.
Already the prosecution raises an objection? My, we’re getting started early this morning, counsel? Rough night?
I ask the jurors, please, to note the prosecutor’s rolling of his eyes, a sure sign of his contempt.
As you may suspect, members of the jury, despite my lawyers’ advice, my family’s advice, the advice of the honorable Judge himself, and last but not least, God’s personal imploring, as recently as this morning, to use outside counsel, I have chosen, instead, to face you directly—that is, to represent myself—in this case.
No one, I believe, is better equipped than I to appeal to your sense of justice and fairness, if for no other reason—and there are other reasons—than that I’m smarter than all of my originally appointed attorneys combined, each of whom, incidentally, should have his license to practice revoked.
What the laws schools are churning out these days is downright frightening, but that’s another story.
As you may be aware, while it’s true that I’m not a practicing attorney, let the record reflect that I hold four—no, make that five—different law degrees from prestigious online universities around the world.
I might add that I am also regarded as a legal expert of renown in the area of forensics and personality disorders.
How ironic, then, that I am here to defend myself against charges that I am a sociopath!
It makes me want to laugh, which is why I’m laughing right now, with the hilarity this absurd accusation merits!
Incidentally, if I’m having trouble recomposing myself, bear in my mind that my sense of humor is notorious and one of my greatest strengths, as will be evident during the proceedings.
Presently, I should also like to point out my tendency to use the word “incidentally” a lot, which, incidentally, dates back to my days at Stanford University where—and I’d like this noted in the record—I graduated with the highest grade point average in that distinguished university’s history…I believe it was an 8.3.
I note the prosecutor’s sarcastic display of his mirth?
I assure the court that I intend to furnish my notarized Stanford diploma at a later point in my testimony…if not today, then no later than tomorrow.
But enough of my preamble: As a first witness, I’d like to call my ex-wife, Sheila, who also happens to be the mother of my son, Evan. For the record, let it be noted that I’ll be calling my son to the stand following my cross-examination of his mother, whose testimony, I anticipate, will prove quite illuminating.
Your Honor, I call Sheila Brumzovitz, the first of my four ex-wives, to the stand.
Hello, Sheila, you are looking rather old and past your time, today…excuse me, I meant to say, as young and beautiful as when we first met! And when was that? Was it really 27 years ago?
Yes…yes…the prosecutor can object all he wants, but I ask the jurors please to continue noting counsel’s passive-aggressiveness and oppositionality?
Sheila, first of you, I miss you, my darling. I know that you probably hate me to this day, and that you probably believe, for a great many reasons, that I wronged you and our precious son. Your feelings, darling, are valid, as feelings always are; however, your reasons aren’t, as I will presently prove to this fine, intelligent and, I trust, fair panel of jurors.
But may I recognize, for the record, something very cold in your expression? Almost as though you regard me as an object, rather than a human being?
And worse, an object, dare I say, of worthlessness?
Be that as it may…as I said, you look lovely, Sheila, and I mean that sincerely.
May I also tell you that I’m so glad to have heard, through the proverbial grapevine, that you are presently and happily married, for several years now?
May the court recognize how very pleased I am to have learned of my ex-wife’s propitious circumstances, and please don’t ask me to define “propitious.”
Am I to presume, Sheila, that your present husband—I understand his name is Phil?—is in the courtroom, sitting with the audience, no doubt in a supportive role?
What…again? Another objection from the prosecutor?
Let the record reflect that my curiosity was not, as the prosecutor suggests so cynically, a diversionary tactic. I merely thought it would be civil of me, the father, to recognize the stepfather of my son…
To shake his hand, perhaps…and thank him for his generosity to my family.
Now Sheila, in your deposition, a record of which I hold in my hands, you described me as, and I quote, “…glib, charming, deceptive, manipulative and devious,” and also as, and I quote again, “…a lying, conniving bastard.”
Then, you abruptly switch gears and begin to list my less appealing qualities, describing me, and I quote, “…as, moreover, a thief, and a predator.”
Sheila, and I remind you that you are under oath…as you look into my eyes…that’s right, darling…look very closely into my eyes, and, remembering that you are under oath, I ask you, can a man with such gentle eyes, such romantic eyes, such soliticous and tender eyes…can such a man be guilty of the qualities you ascribe to me?
Now I object!, your Honor!
I object, on the grounds that…I did not like her answer.
Objection overruled? Not to be impertinent, your honor, but what political cronies conspired to secure your judgeship?
Okay, okay, I recognize your warning, Judge.
Sheila, my only true love, may I remind you that I warned you very early on—that’s to say, well in advance—of the consequences of your abdication of your matrimonial duties?
What? The prosecutor can’t object to this?
Are you on the rag, buddy? How long has it been since you got some, pal?
Yes, yes…I realize I’ve crossed the line again, your Honor. Let me compose myself.
Now Sheila, I read here from a record of an email that I sent you, dated May 21, 2004. I quote from my email, “Sheila, I’m not warning you or anything. Just know that so long as you frustrate my sexual appetites, you are effectively inviting, if not licensing, me to seek satisfaction elsewhere!”
Your reply, Sheila, dated May 21, 2004, not ten minutes later, is, and I quote, “Ed, this is a threat, and it’s all about your narcissism. You are also a sex addict. It would be impossible for me, or for anyone, to satisfy your sexual needs. The only thing I license you to do is to grow up.”
May the court note that, only in response to this blatant, insulting provocation, did I commence to engage in several affairs over the next two years before my ex-wife abandoned me.
You allege, Sheila, in your deposition, which I hold in my hands, that on two separate occasions within the span of the year 2005, that you came home and twice found me having sex, in our house, with an unknown female?
You allege that, once, you found us on the sofa, in the livingroom, and six months later, that you found me, with a different woman, in our bedroom.
Do you recall your testimony?
Excellent, I’m glad there is no memory lapse in connection with it.
Do you also recall, Sheila, that on both these occasions, you were supposed to be out of the house—in the first case on an overnight business trip; in the second, in the hospital, having surgery performed under general anesthesia?
You remember this? Very good.
And so, then, almost by definition, do you not agree that, in both these cases of so-called infidelity, you effectively ambushed me!?
You were not supposed to be home! I had every reason to believe I could enjoy my own space in my own house! Yet, unexpectedly, without warning, you show up at my house, and invade my space!
Objection? What is up with this prosecutor? How am I browbeating the witness?
Hey listen, buddy, how ’bout I show you what browbeating really is after the court adjourns?
By the way, Judge, I object to the fact that the prosecutor, with his constant interrruptions, refuses to let me establish any rhythm with my witness? Doesn’t that constitute prosecutorial misconduct?
Why do you keep censuring me, your Honor? This is really starting to feel like a conspiracy. I ask the court to recognize the restraint and forebearance with which I’m managing my resentment?
Where was I? Hmmm….let me look at my notes.
Ah yes! And so Sheila, darling—and, by the way, for the record, it was you, not I, who abandoned our salvageable marriage—yet virtually by your own admission, you had the temerity to confront me, to embarrass me, to make a scene, twice, in my house, in front of two innocent women, who, let the record reflect, were unaware of my marital status!
God forbid you’d composed yourself, and allowed us, in each of these instances, the space, time and dignity to at least put some clothes on!
I ask the jury, now, to please imagine how mortifying, how traumatizing, it was to be confronted by this madwoman, who enters the house and discovers me in what she recklessly interprets to be a compromised position—that is, immediately the witness leaps to conclusions of sordid infidelity, without having the decency to let me explain myself and the important mitigating circumstances.
Because don’t kid yourself, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. There are always two sides of a story, even when it appears there is just one. And when it appears there is just one side of a story, Sheila, and especially your side, I suggest that this ought to signal you, darling—remember this—this ought to signal you that the other side, in this case my side, is likely to be more credible than ever, and urgently deserves your extra consideration and respect.
Come again? The prosecution has yet another complaint? What do you mean she’s not on trial?
I’ve got news for you, Mr. Prosecutor, we’re all on trial! Life is a trial! And the strongest of us, when necessary, rise up to defend ourselves from scurrilous accusations of the kind raised in this court—that I, who have never hurt anyone intentionally, and always been willing to reason with reasonable people, including my ex-spouses…that I am a sociopath!
No, sir, I am not yet finished with the witness and, incidentally, your objection that I’m badgering her, Mr. Prosecutor, is growing tiresome and lame. You might have noticed that the jury itself, Mr. Prosecutor, as if in unison, is stifling a collective yawn, if you even bothered to pay attention?
Now Sheila, there are so many things I would like. This may come as a surprise, but I would like, for instance, to be friends. I would also like for us to bury the hatchet, and for you to stop, finally, corrupting my son against me. I’d even be willing to become friends with your current husband, Phil, who, by the looks of things, as I watch who I think is him in the audience, does not appear to be terribly receptive to my olive branch?
Even at this late juncture, Sheila, with so much proverbial water under the bridge—that is, despite the baggage that’s accumulated between us over the years—even today, I’d be willing to consider another stint in couples therapy, on the chance we might make another go of things…recover, so to speak, you know…that passion between us that…and I remind you that you are under oath, darling…that I know you still have for me…no offense to your current husband and family.
Remembering that you are under oath, Sheila, and looking very carefully into my eyes, I ask you whether, in fact, it’s not the case that you still, somehow, find me very hard to resist…that you acknowledge, even now, right this second, how magnetic, how mesmerizing is the effect I still have on you?
I remind you, darling, that you are under oath!
I object, your Honor! I object vehemently!
Once again, that was not the response I was looking for! May the court document that I could not be less pleased with the witness’s scathing answer, and I ask the jury to carefully note its reflection on the witness’s character and credibility!
Excuse me? Was that a reaction from Phil over there, in the audience? Is Phil getting overheated? I thought that was you, Phil. I can pick out my ex’s new partners from a lineup from scratch, without ever having seen them.
Calm down, Phil. Take it easy.
Boy, sheila, you remarried a feisty one!
Thank goodness security has arrived. Those security guys, if you ask me, really don’t get paid enough money to maintain order and decorum in the courtroom.
Wait a minute! What’s this? What are you guys doing?
Get your hands off me! What the hell?! This is outrageous! You can’t remove me from the courtroom!
Judge, I ask you…I implore you to have these goons release me right now, and allow me to proceed with my questioning of the witness! This is a travesty of my right to defend myself against charges of sociopathy!
I demand that right, Judge! You’ll regret this Judge! I know people, Judge! It’s a bad idea to underestimate me!
I ask the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as they’re dragging me out of the courtroom like Nazi gestapos…I ask you to carefully note this outrageous transgression of my civil rights!
Please, ladies and gentlemen of the jury…and especially you, juror #7…you, who emanates such a rare beauty and sensitivity….please…suspend your verdict until I’ve had the chance to face-down that whiny, objecting prosecutor!
I relish…salivate for…that opportunity! And it is coming soon! Trust me! It is coming soon!
Goodbye for now, but not for long!
(This work is copyrighted (c) 2010 by Steve Becker, LCSW. While the central character in this work is imagined as male, it could just as easily be female, as sociopathy does not gender-discriminate.)